Document Section Local Plan Part 2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Chapter 4: Housing: Delivering New Housing Delivering New Housing in Haslemere [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID /198
Respondent Kirsten Ellis [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 12 Jul 2018
Current Status Accepted

I am objecting to the proposed development DS18: Red Court, Scotland Lane, Haslemere on the following grounds:

  1. Develop Brownfield not Greenfield: Site -18 is AGLV land and borders AONB and is therefore under Green Belt Protection. The Department for Communities and Local Government state that it is government policy "to encourage re-use of brownfield land if not of high environmental value, and empowers them to set local targets for the take-up of brownfield." They have clearly stated officially that "Local Plan policies "should reflect the desirability of re-using brownfield land." Also that "The Government is committed to ensuring that 90% of suitable brownfield sites have planning permission by 2020." The National Policy Framework "expects local authorities to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside in their policies and decisions" and "includes protection for Green Belt, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other designation rural land", which DS-18 is. Your survey of potential sites to be developed for housing in Haslemere allows for sufficient urban fill available on brownfield sites within the Haslemere boundaries. To propose development on DS-18 is therefore directly against the stated policy of the Department of Communities and Local Government under Policy RE3.  

There are 359 dwellings available (DS07, 09, 10, 11 12, 13 – 22 to name a few) on brownfield sites and these should be used first and as a priority over land under Green Land Protection. Acceleration of use of brownfield sites has been stated as a priority by the Government - this should be demonstrated by rejecting outright your proposed development of DS-18. 

For the nearby Sturt Farm development, any AONB and AGLV status was apparently overridden. To develop DS-18 in addition would mean, as a look at any map demonstrates, that the Sturt Farm destruction of AONB and AGLV status linked with the destruction of the Green Belt on DS-18 would remove the equivalent of 125 acres of land, destroying this vital green habitat. This area was awarded AGLV protection for good reason, and it should remain protected. 

  1. Traffic Volume and Access: Scotland Lane is a narrow lane with a significant tree density and quiet unsuitable for the proposed increase traffic flow. Increased traffic along this lane poses increased danger to pedestrians, children, as well as increased congestion. Access to any arterial road (A3/A286/A287) has narrow pinch points of less than 2 car widths in any direction when exiting from Scotlands Lane. If Sturt Farm is to begin development in the next 2 years and DS-18 were to follow, the disruption safety of all road users and pedestrians would be under serious threat from the traffic and disturbance on two sites 1 km apart. 
  1. Nature:  It is essential that the developers of Red Court STOP the destruction of the woodland habitat in the AGLV. I have been informed that if the new owners of Red Court have applied for a felling license they would have needed to present a proposal to replant the same amount of trees within their property - otherwise no felling license will be granted. Without a felling license a landowner is permitted to take out up to 5 cubic meters of usable timber a quarter and an unlimited amount of "unviable trees", but who determines which trees are "unviable?" They have already removed ancient native oaks which surely should have had TPOs on them and appear to be in the process of razing the woodland.  Surely the Council should intervene to prevent further wholesale destruction of these habitat providing and carbon-reducing elements on this AGLV land, the removal of which would seriously degrade our Haslemere environment. The woodlands are home to many species of birds and wild animals - nesting owls, nesting bats, nesting nightingales, returning migratory woodlark, sparrow haws, redpoll, cuckoo, woodpeckers and linnets. The South East corner of Haslemere has a very high tree density and all planning should be in line with British Standard 'BS5837:2012 Trees' in relation to any authorised destruction to trees (which appears to have resumed this week, and construction).  
  1. Water Availability and Infrastructure:   Thames Water have stated that they cannot meeting existing demand. This was raised by the objection to Sturt Farm and remains a vital and valid concern. Thames Water have raised concerns about Sturt Farm's siting on the Aquifer tributary about contamination from weed killers, human and non-biological waste in their water quality statements. 

Overall, the community and character should not fall victim to the greed of a single developer proposing to develop in a greenfield site, whose haste and speed to destroy the trees and wildlife and to degrade the Green Belt should be noted and halted. The proposed development of DS-18 looks a lot like a shoe-in to make the Redwood developers rich while not sensibly meeting Haslemere's needs and indeed to the very severe detriment of the local rural setting and the community. Obviously Haslemere has committed to fulfilling a quota for housing but this could be best achieved by developing on available brownfield sites, following established Government policy.